Edit ModuleShow Tags

Wanna rock the world?


Published:

I recently spoke to a CEO who had a limiting mindset around defining his company’s vision, strategy and direction. A little voice in his head said something like, “You’re the CEO! You’re supposed to be the smartest guy in the room! If you can’t figure out where this company is going and how to get there, you shouldn’t be in the job!”

This guy had what I call the “Stalinist Centralized Planning One Big Brain” view of the CEO’s office. Centralized planning — whether for a country or a company — doesn’t work. Eventually you must resort to Gulags and terror to control, oops … “help,” the poor bastards whose lives you’re trying to improve!

A recent Wall Street Journal article (Alberto Mingardi, “The European Union According to Hayek,” March 24, 2012) uses lessons from famous economist Friedrich Hayek to illustrate the folly of bureaucratic leadership trying to run welfare states. It’s a darn good argument for avoiding the ills of some of the EU countries, but there’s also a central tenant of the argument that works nicely in business: One person cannot possibly know enough to effectively plan and run a complex enterprise. The skills and actions to pilot a canoe don’t work so well in a battleship.

As an organization grows, it becomes increasingly important to listen more than you talk and use collaborative management techniques. The solo entrepreneur mindset doesn’t scale well. Archimedes said, “Give me a place to stand and a lever, and I can move the world.” As you grow, you need different levers.

The levers of solo entrepreneurs are often their ideas and capital. The levers of  midsize or large company CEOs include ideas and capital, but the ideas don’t (and shouldn’t!) always come from them. In addition, without understanding and using the levers of communication, collaboration, systems and motivation, their world won’t budge!

If you’re trying to move the world, channel Ronald Reagan, not Joseph Stalin!

 

 

 

 

Edit Module
Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is president of Applied Strategy®. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Todd is the author of Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, call 303-527-0417 or email todd@toddordal.com.

Get more content like this: Subscribe to the magazine | Sign up for our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Norwich University launches online bachelor's program in business administration

The program will start with six concentration paths, which include: cyber security management, human resource management, leadership studies, procurement and contract management, financial services management and supply chain management.

How companies can win with philanthropy

Simply giving money to a charity or philanthropic organization doesn’t necessarily carry the same impact as taking the time to work side-by-side with others. Donating time builds stronger teams and creates a sense of empathy among employees

Pitkin County takes aim on high-energy mansions

Aspen joins Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins among the 31 jurisdictions across the United States that employ energy benchmarking as a tool for driving down building energy use.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags